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Michelle Obama Visits Interior Dept.

By Ed O'Keefe

First lady Michelle Obama continued her tour of federal agencies and departments today at the Interior Department, where she announced that President Obama will soon appoint an adviser to senior White House staff on Native American issues.

Michelle Obama
The first lady receives a traditional Native American woman's shawl during her visit to the Interior Department on Monday.

The new adviser will "work with tribes and across the government on these issues such as sovereignty, health care and education, all central to the well-being of Native American families and the prosperity of tribes," the first lady said. The position would be subject to the normal staffing process and would be filled in the next few weeks, her aides said.

As she has at her previous stops, Obama once again tied the work of the department she was visiting to the president's economic stimulus proposals. Interior's work on energy, environmental and natural resource issues will "help create thousands of jobs through the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that Barack is out there promoting today," she said.

Obama also called out several long-serving Interior staffers seated behind her on stage.

“I also want to acknowledge these wonderful workers. Folks who have been in this department longer than I’ve been alive. That is amazing.”

She also acknowledged Interior's recent ethics scandals, saying that “This is an important time of reform and renewal here in this department, and as you begin the hard work of taking this department into a new era of excellence, I wanted to come by again to simply say thank you."

Some reporters covering the event observed that security seemed less strict than normal. The White House pool report of the event described the security check-in process as "lackluster." The Interior Department's on-site security staff did not perform hand inspection of camera bags or coats, nor asked reporters to turn on electronic equipment, as is customary during security checks at such events. Secret Service agents were placed throughout the department's main lobby and the auditorium where the event was held, but did not participate in the security screening process.

Before her remarks, Obama was presented with a lavender-colored Native American shawl and heard a traditional "Honor Song" performed by the Blackbear Singers, a local Native American music group.

Today's was the third stop on a tour that last week took her to the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development. Aides did not know when she would make her next stop. The tour is partly designed as a “listening tour,” a public thank you to the department's workforce and partly an effort to “rally the troops” as the Obama administration sets priorities. The order of her visits to federal offices is based on her schedule, not policy priorities.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 9, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments, Video Report  
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Next: Long-Serving Interior Staff Take Stage With Obama

Comments

When Obama's staff opened up their website soon after the Nov 4 election, I wrote and suggested a better effort on the part of the government to help Native Americans with their Trust Fund issues with the govt. I was pleased to see Michelle working with Native Americans at the Interior Dept. and promising closer ties with that group. The stimulus bill also has money targeted to help Native Americans. I'm not a Native American but I feel we have played games long enough with this minority group in terms of their Trust Fund and denying them their own money. So it is pleasing to see we at last have a president who will go beyond the usual cursory apologies and actually do something for them.

Posted by: rrau22 | February 9, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

This is really important.

Posted by: teeballou | February 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Who is the marketeer that came-up with term "listening tour"? First it's Sec. of State Clinton, then it's Caroline Kennedy and now Michelle Obama? Re-using BS marketing phrases like "Listening Tour" doesn't work because the people are finally seeing what they have in government- The Keysone Cops.

The Democrats may be doing a lot of "listening" but they aren't paying attention. That's why the White House and US Senate switchboards are either off-line or have been disconnected.

No Pork... No Pork... No Pork...

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | February 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

MRS. OBAMA:

WHILE THE PRESIDENT IS PURPOSELY DISTRACTED
BY THE 'GENERATED' ECONOMIC CRISIS...

...IS HIS PRESIDENCY -- AND OUR LIBERTY -- BEING COVERTLY STOLEN?

********************************************

EYES ONLY. TO: President Obama; MICHELLE OBAMA; VP Biden; R. Emanuel; D. Axelrod; D. Blair; J. Brennan; J. Jones; E. Holder; J. Napolitano; R. Gates; L. Panetta; H. Clinton; T. Geithner; R. Mueller; H. Reid; N. Pelosi; D. Feinstein; S. Reyes


RE: Credible reports of HUMAN/CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSES by the ongoing Bush-Cheney EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK...

...comprised of security/intel agents, local police nationwide, and citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and anti-terrorism programs.


IT IS DAY 21 OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

DO YOU *REALLY* KNOW WHAT YOUR "MULTI-AGENCY ACTION CENTER" IS UP TO?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (IF LINKS ARE CORRUPTED/DISABLED):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 9, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

For the reporter: What's a "Native American woman's shawl"? What tribe wears these shawls? Lumping all Natives under the "Native American" label as if they all shared the same culture, traditions and dress, is a bit meh. Yeah, I know, I'm fighting windmills... but Natives usually state their tribe of affiliation *because it matters.*

Posted by: alarico | February 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

no wonder michelle obama had her mother leave her apartment in chicago so that she could live in the luxury of the white house.

she was about to become the goodwill ambassador for the u.s.

odd though, i never heard michelle's name mentioned during the campaign as obama's goodwill ambassador, nor did i see her name on the ballot.


come to think of it, i must have missed her confirmation hearing as well.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 9, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"Some reporters covering the event observed that security seemed less strict than normal. The White House pool report of the event described the security check-in process as "lackluster." The Interior Department's on-site security staff did not perform hand inspection of camera bags or coats, nor asked reporters to turn on electronic equipment, as is customary during security checks at such events."
______________

Who's side are you on? Soviet Russia's???

The Obamas clearly trust the American people, unlike the Bushes and their neocon syncophants.

Posted by: bs2004 | February 9, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Really????

Then why isn't there a Native American in there to run anything?

Just goes to prove that people of color in-charge can be just as racist as whites.

Posted by: rush_n_crush | February 9, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh good, another Government position. I'll suggest becuase of its importance that it will be a Senior Executive Service position and will net $180k salary for a total expense to the US taxpayer of approx $300k. Of course, there wil be staff, what's a job like that without staff... so lets make it an even $1M. I assume thats covered in the budget?

Posted by: CARealist | February 9, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

We have better security than that when we attend Lady Vol basketball games...Please protect and defend the First Family.

Posted by: madeaderick | February 9, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I sent the following e-mail to the Interior Department

The Washington Post reported today that Michelle Obama's appearance at the Interior Department the security screening for access to her event was not up to the standards reporters have experienced at other agencies. Come on guys, clearly the President and the First Lady are high profile targets. This is an outrage. Do you need a tragedy before you get your house in order?

Posted by: halhassin | February 9, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

This W/H looks mighty dysfunctional to me so far. Now that she's visited, can anyone at the Dept answer this, "how was your life made better?"

Posted by: vgailitis | February 9, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness: What exactly does your rant have to do with Mrs. Obama's visit?
Other than to take cheap shots at her, I guess.
And, if you supported the debacle that is Iraq, then you have NO BUSINESS whining about "pork" now.
On more thing: We seriously doubt you are an expert in anything, except stupid posts.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | February 9, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

What the First Lady Michelle Obama receive is a "Chall", a garment very popular among all Native Americans, even among Mexican women and it is a tradition also of central and South America.

Posted by: jjtrezzmonterreymx | February 9, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

odd though, i never heard michelle's name mentioned during the campaign as obama's goodwill ambassador, nor did i see her name on the ballot.


come to think of it, i must have missed her confirmation hearing as well.
___________________________________________Second that statement! We did not see her name on the ballot! Her two 'children' at home should keep her busy, so that she does not have to be bothered making official announcements...she is not official! Let's get the WH straightened out now so that we can get the real problems of this country assessed and solved. This bunch of "keystone cops' wannabes and new-bies are a joke so far!

Posted by: crowne2 | February 9, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Excellent Job Michelle Obama! You are doing a great job going out among the agencies and instilling new hope, inspiration, and pride among the employees. Its a new day and a relief for them to get out from under the oppressive yoke of the Bush/Cheney operation.
I have 2 relatives working in DC and they say they feel as if a great weight has been lifted off the entire federal system.

Posted by: westcan | February 10, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

First Lady Michelle Obama follows in the footsteps of Eleanor Roosevelt who pioneered the "eyes and ears" function for her husband during an economic depression. I'd like to have read more substance than inflammatory comments on security.

Posted by: oldmagnolia | February 10, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

There are a few points; would the writer of the article referred to Mrs Obama with her honorary, Mrs.. that would have been respectful.

Most important is that attention is being paid to the Interior Dept and issues relating to Native Americans.

It is about time that a Native American be appointed to the management of the Interior Dept.

It seems this administration, though less than a month old, is making serious efforts to embrace all of us into the fold of Americanism.

Maybe we could put criticism aside for a year or two; after all we gave the previous president 6 years before we started complaining.

Posted by: greenjujubee1 | February 14, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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